The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program serves children and their families from birth through pre-kindergarten. It is composed of three levels of programming:
Preschool children must be 3 by September 30.
Pre-kindergarten children must be 4 by September 30.
The ECE program serves deaf and hard of hearing children. The staff monitors the development of both ASL and English using the Visual Communication and Sign Language Checklist as well as tools for spoken English.
Each child in ECE, babies and toddlers included, participates in a variety of sensory-based experiences in a bilingual environment. Learning takes place in child-centered, play-based classroom centers that incorporate active learning and hands-on developmental experiences. ECE also partners with other service providers families may be using for their child.
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate in Birth-to-3 Program activities. Home visits and visits in other natural environments are determined based on the needs of the student and the family. Infants and toddlers with their parents, or a caregiver designated by the family, attend class two mornings a week if a child is under two-years-old. Children ages two-to-three years old attend from three to five mornings a week. Parents drop off and pick up their children from class. The staff facilitates the transition from the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to the Individualized Education Program (IEP).
The preschool program introduces the child to his or her first full-time school experience. The program centers around three principles that connect all learning to three beliefs: “Take care of friends;” “Take care of things;” and “We are safe.” The literacy-based environment encourages the development of a community of learners with emphasis on social-emotional skills and pre-literacy skills.
The literacy-based environment encourages the development of a community of learners with emphasis on social-emotional and pre-literacy skills. As the children begin to acquire more independence, they learn about making decisions for themselves as individuals and as part of a team. What they learn in preschool and pre-kindergarten will serve as a foundation for future Common Core State Standards learning that they will encounter in kindergarten and through the elementary school years. .
Children are placed in the preschool and pre-kindergarten classes based on age and the recommendation of either the IFSP or the IEP team. They attend school five days a week (8:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m.).
One of the favorite places for preschool and pre-kindergarten students is the Outdoor Classroom. This specially designed outdoor learning center stimulates curiosity through hands-on experience with nature in all types of weather and all seasons. This environment supports STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities. Children start to use photography to document change over time in season, weather, and plant growth. They build bird houses and bird baths. They plant flower and vegetable gardens that lend themselves to discussion of the events in the natural world, seeing in action what they read in their classroom books and learning about measurement, volume, and other early math concepts.